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Proper nouns on the rocks

The Scotch Whisky Association of UK is seeking to restrain permanently an Indian whiskey manufacturer from using the name ?Red Scot.?

india Updated: Apr 25, 2006 01:55 IST

The placebo effect is well-known to scientists. So the fact that a very large number of Indian whiskey drinkers nurse their drinks and clink their glasses in the firm belief that they are savouring Scotch shouldn’t be so upsetting. But unfortunately, there’s the business of IPR -- intellectual property rights -- or, to put it more bluntly, of what something suggests something to be. Which is why the Scotch Whisky Association of United Kingdom is seeking to restrain permanently an Indian whiskey (the ‘e’ comes in if it’s British, the ‘e’ is dropped if it’s American) manufacturer from using the name ‘Red Scot’ -- or any other name using the word ‘Scot’ to sell its product.

In the danger of sounding anti-national, we, normal folk, drink mostly Indian whiskey. Scotch whiskey that is bottled in India -- the IMFL (Indian-Made Foreign Liquor) batches -- are whiskey that is distilled in Scotland and b(r)ought in bulk and in concentrated and ‘de-mineralised’ Rasna concentrate-style in India. Even if we discount the addition of Scottish Highland river waters, we are in a position to term it as ‘blended’ Scotch’.

As for the rest in India, Red Scot included, these whiskeys are made from molasses, which isn’t ‘Scotch’, sorry, but works for us. Which is why, we think, that it’s perfectly kosher for Indian whiskeys not to call themselves Scotches or anything remotely (and confusingly) Scot. After all, how would we like it if long grained rice grown from other longitudes or latitudes called itself ‘basmati’? Confusing, isn’t it?